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I feel like the Battlecharger mold was really close to giving the Datsun family a run for its money as a high point of Earthrise. So, some background – I didn’t expect to produce a gallery for Runamuck as quickly as I did. In fact, this started with me using Runamuck as a random subject out of my recently opened toys for testing a background and lighting arrangement. But I started having so much fun getting poses and just doing stuff with the robot mode (not to mention the first couple test pictures looked way better than I expected them to) that the process more or less snowballed. I hope it comes across in the gallery just how much fun I had with the robot mode.
There’s almost 100 photos of Runamuck, way too many to put in this post. Click here to see the full Earthrise Runamuck gallery!
(but please take a few moments to finish reading the blog post, too!)
I wouldn’t say the poseability is anything really extraordinary on paper. The standard model remains more or less the standard model. But of course the practical application breaks those bounds sometimes, and something about how Runamuck executes the normal set of bullet points ends up feeling quite nice. The transformation gives extensive range in the knees which is certainly useful, but not groundbreaking on its own. Heck of a kneel or crouch Runamuck can get going, but even that test is passed more often than failed at the Deluxe price point anymore. Maybe I need to figure out a new standard test for leg poseability, in that case…
Runamuck’s great big Battlecharger feet do a respectable job keeping the toy stable even in awkward poses; it’s not hard to get a passable walking/running pose without outside support, and that is still remarkable. Interesting then that Runamuck might have the most limited ankle tilt range out of anything at this price point in quite a while. Extreme splits aren’t going to be happening without going back to how we did it in the old days of balancing a figure on the corners of the feet. But what’s here is plenty for any reasonable need. How often does anyone really use the full extent of the ankle range on most of these toys?
The fake wheels don’t cause problems for the robot like you might otherwise suspect. The foot is structured in a way that could be seen as loosely borrowing from how the Datsuns work, keeping the toe purposely pointed using a raised-heel layout. It’s for the same reason Smokescreen and all do it: so the working wheel is held suspended and doesn’t make the stance unstable. The false wheel is part of the heel structure, and likewise keeps from being in a position to cause unwanted rolling, or what have you. As much as I’d have been amused to see some added engineering to somehow get the actual rear wheel bunched up within the foot, that’s obviously beyond the scope for a Deluxe.
The arms and torso don’t give any unexpected results. In fact, the elbows might have a just barely smaller range than average. But still somehow there’s something about it that makes the toy just take so well to posing in a way that I don’t find nearly as often as I’d like to. The Datsun mold brings strong competition on this score, but it seems like these families are outliers among the overall offerings. I guess it’s a good thing we’re having at least six toys between the two?
An unadvertised feature of Runamuck is a comprehensive paint job. Battlechargers aren’t exactly known for having complicated decos. I imagine a choice was made to apply paint budget to covering as much of the toy as possible in paint to make it look and feel a little less …unadorned. I appreciate the effort and presumed thought behind this choice, but in basically all respects I think I’d have been happier with bare white plastic. Personal preference for the most part here, as the look and literal feel of the toy is just a little bit off from everything else. Plus a white paint job is rarely the most durable thing. It also screws with transformation because every paintable part has been comprehensively painted white, with exception of the windows which would have been shielded by a paint mask or something. The main reason this is important is because the tabs that hold the two halves of the car body together and the slots they go with are also fully painted. The extra paint thickness on both ends ruins the tolerances of those fittings, making it an absurd effort to join or separate the parts. It really ruined the experience for me, and I sure hope Runabout omits the heavy paint job so I can have one version of this mold that’s smoother out of the box.
I think the car mode may be a victim of the paint otherwise, too. There’s no way it’s not exaggerating the gaps between the various panels, and making the car mode look a bit of a mess. It’s disappointing, because I like the style of the car in itself. The kind of unremarkable, square-edged-ness gives it a more ordinary feeling than the typical supercar choices, and I like getting that kind of thing on the rare occasion it comes up. But boy does this look sad with the exaggerated gaps.
On a functional side, I have found consistently that the false wheels for robot mode do impede the car mode. The heel plates they’re part of can’t seem to fit quite high up enough in the underbody to leave any clearance below the car. The undercarriage drags, so if you would expect rolling – smooth or otherwise – it doesn’t seem like you’re going to get that. I won’t rule out that I’m missing some element that would relieve that problem, but I’ve tried going through it many times and examining how things are fitting together, and I can’t see any way to resolve this. I’ll give the engineering credit though, the underbody of the car looks pretty good, and if not for the spare roof tucked in down there, you wouldn’t have much obvious signs of robot visible from below.
Prior to this, the closest thing I had to a Battlecharger was the Transformers Adventure version of Combiner Wars Blackjack, which was decoed and sold as Runabout. So not having either of the G1 toys, I never realized Runamuck’s rifle had always been a bootleg Gundam rifle. But I’m quite delighted by it and really glad they maintained the design for this toy. It might have inspired me to improvise a beam saber and press Slitherfang to serve as a shield just to push the association a little further in my own head. Like I said, I had a lot of fun playing with Runamuck when I got it in front of the camera.
I also found it completely hilarious to equip Runamuck with Fasttrack, pretty much entirely for the purpose of putting a Battlecharger on roller skates. Uh, the rest of the equipment works fine, too, I guess…
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Coincidentally, by the time this goes live for non-patrons, Runabout has just a day or so earlier been found in Target stores in the US, nearly three weeks before the online release date. So there’s some wacky timing! I imagine I’ll remain waiting until the website preorder comes in, but I am looking forward to getting hold of Runabout and hopefully having just as much fun with that version of the mold. It ended up a little too compromised to risk toppling the Datsun from its place as the favorite of the line, but it’s not far beneath! And if we get this reworked as Tracks next year, so much the better! Just, please, less of the full-body paint. It’s better off without.